I have finally reached the end of my Star Wars marathon before the release of Rise of Skywalker. I am on the second movie of the new Star Wars trilogy, The Last Jedi. This movie came out in December of 2017 and I cannot remember ever seeing a movie that was so divisive among fans as The Last Jedi was. There are those that really enjoyed it and others that absolutely did not like the movie. I enjoyed it in theaters but upon revisit, I realized that the movie has very good scenes, but overall, is not a good movie, which is very disappointing considering how great The Force Awakens was.
The Last Jedi takes place shortly after the destruction of Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens and the First Order fleet has forced the Resistance to evacuate their base and flee. The problem is that the First Order has developed technology to track the Resistance through lightspeed and have them trapped. At the same time, Rey has arrived on the island where Luke Skywalker lives and is trained in the ways of the force by Luke. His whole lesson for her is why the Jedi needs to end.
The film stars once again, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. It also stars Mark Hamill, who returns to play Luke Skywalker once again. Ridley once again is great as Rey as she plays a character trying to figure out who she is and someone who yearns for truth and justice. She tries to make sense of everything going on and someone who is trying to bring light to a dark world.
Boyega is good as Finn but the problem is that his character is completely wasted in the film, in part because of an awful character, Rose. Finn is separated from the action for most of the movie and goes to a casino planet for a plot element that has nothing to do with the movie and his character hardly develops.
Driver as Ren is spectacular in this film as he plays a character persistent in getting Rey to come with him to learn the ways of the force and he does an excellent job portraying a character still stricken with fear and doubt. And when Ren, towards the end of the movie, fully embraces his evil nature, it is very fun to watch.
Hamill might be the best actor in this movie. He plays an old master who is broken by his failure and the failure has left him cynical and isolated. Many were expecting to see a grand return and see Luke in his prime. But what we get, instead, is a broken master and that is powerful to watch.
The best way to sum up The Last Jedi is that every scene with Kylo Ren, Rey and Luke Skywalker is spectacular. Every scene without them is weak except for the scene where Admiral Holdo rams into the First Order’s flagship and crushes the First Order fleet.
Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Issac, is a good character but most of his screen time is wasted squabbling with Holdo and it doesn’t serve the plot or his character well at all. Also, this movie did a grand disservice to Admiral Ackbar. He is a great leader, going back to Return of the Jedi, and he dies after barely getting introduced in the movie. It would have been better if he played the role of Holdo in the film.
Let’s discuss the awful character I discussed earlier, Rose. Her and Finn’s arc is pointless in the grand scheme of the film and there are so many cringy scenes between them. They go out and search for a codebreaker on Canto Bight and it is a separate story that has little to do with the overall plot of the film. All Rose does throughout the film is whine, complain and deliver lines that resemble the prequels, which is saying a lot. There is no point to her character whatsoever and saving Finn at the end ruins a potentially powerful sacrifice for an awkward and cheesy moment that does not feel earned. Every time her and Finn were on screen, I was always hoping the scene would end as quickly as possible so they could back to Rey, Luke and Ren.
As far as the look of the movie goes, it looks pretty good. The scene where Holdo rams into the fleet is one of the greatest scenes I have ever seen in theaters as it looked spectacular and the silence make it that much more dramatic. Also, the throne room scene where Ren and Rey defeat the royal guards is shot very well and it does a great job showing the gritty tension that is in that scene. One issue I have with the look is Snoke. While the point is that he looks old and beat up, it looks way too fake and could have looked a lot more natural.
The Last Jedi has some good moments and characters, but the problem is it feels like three movies crammed into one movie and two of them are far inferior to the other. It is a movie with good scenes but a lot of it is filled with scenes you want to skip. I recommend watching it before Rise of Skywalker but I would not recommend it watching outside of watching it for the sake of watching the whole trilogy or saga.